You’ve started to eat better. You’ve sworn off the fried food, cut your sugar intake, and substituted junk with healthier options. So why do you feel worse than before?
When you switch to a new diet, you may experience temporary discomfort. This is because your body may take a while to adapt to the new changes. The good news is that these side effects are short-term roadblocks on your journey to better health, and most will go away in about 1-2 weeks.
Side effects of changing your diet may include:
- Feeling hungry
- Excess gas or bloating
- Stomach cramps
- Mood changes (irritability)
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Food cravings
- Difficulty concentrating
- Sleep disturbances
- Nutritional deficiencies (especially with fad diets)
These side effects are usually mild and temporary. However, if your symptoms persist, become severe, or involve excessive vomiting, fainting,or dehydration, you should seek medical attention right away.
Why does changing my diet make me uncomfortable?
Most of the side effects associated with changing your diet are usually caused by the increased amount of protein and fiber in your diet, although sometimes it’s just your brain craving caffeine or sugar.
Other reasons for discomfort may include the following:
- You are consuming too few calories.
- Your diet is very restrictive, completely eliminating fats, carbs, or sugar.
- You have restricted your diet to too few food groups.
- Your diet is not providing you with enough nutrients.
- You are not drinking enough water.
- You have not included enough (or even too much) fiber and protein in your diet.
- Your brain is craving the feel-good hormones your favorite foods normally give you.
- You are expecting too many positive changes in your body too soon.
How to make healthy eating habits sustainable
Healthy eating is not a crash course or quick fix; it has to be a way of life. That means your diet needs to be sustainable. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a three-pronged approach to improving your eating habits:
- Reflect: Reflect on your specific eating habits and understand what triggers you to make unhealthy choices.
- Keep a food diary where you write down what all you eat in a day and when you feel hungry the most.
- Highlight bad habits, such as eating when stressed or bored, skipping meals, or eating too fast.
- Identify bad habits that you can improve first, as well as ideas for how you can avoid the triggers that cause them.
- Replace: Replace unhealthy habits with healthy ones.
- Once you’ve identified bad habits, replace them with healthy ones (for example:
- Eat when you’re hungry and not when you are stressed or bored.
- Avoid distractions like watching TV so you can focus on how much you’re eating.
- Eat slowly and chew your food thoroughly.
- Drink enough water throughout the day so you don’t get as hungry.
- Replace unhealthy snacks with healthier options.
- Don’t treat food as a punishment or reward, but as fuel to nourish your body.
- Plan your meals ahead of time so that you eat a balanced meal.
- Add variety to your meals so that you don’t get tired of eating the same things.
- Once you’ve identified bad habits, replace them with healthy ones (for example:
- Reinforce: Reinforce your new eating habits over time
- Commit to making healthy eating your lifestyle.
- Don’t be hard on yourself if you slip a few times. It takes time to develop good habits, so go easy on yourself and take it one day at a time.
- Keep reminding yourself why you started eating healthier and what you plan to achieve. Remind yourself how far you have come and what benefits your diet can bring to your life.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Top What Are the Side Effects of Changing Your Diet Related Articles
Best Diet Tips SlideshowLearn to lose weight in a realistic way that works. Find healthy weight loss by eating right, sleeping more, understanding portion sizes. Learn how to set reasonable diet standards.
Ketogenic DietThese are low-carb diets -- the basic idea is to get most of your calories from protein and fat. There are some benefits, but you should be careful with them, especially if you have certain medical issues.
Popular Dieting Myths and FactsCan't tell fact from fiction about weight loss and healthy eating? Discover the truth behind some of the most common diet and weight loss myths.
Digestive Health: Why Am I Bloated?Bloating is a sign and symptom of gas in the stomach or GI tract. Certain foods or health problems like constipation may cause it. Bacteria and certain foods like lactose can cause it. Learn the symptoms and causes of bloating to feel healthier.
What Is Gastritis? Causes, Symptoms and TreatmentGastritis (acute and chronic) is an inflammation of the lining of the stomach Some people have no gastritis symptoms, but when they do occur they may include bloating, belching, loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting. H. pylori infection and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are the two main causes of gastritis. Alcohol, caffeine, and high-fat foods also can cause gastritis. Fried, fatty, and spicy foods, and alcohol aggravate gastritis symptoms. Other stomach lining irritants that aggravate symptoms include cigarette smoking, acidic juices, caffeine, tomato products, peppers, and chili powder. Foods that sooth gastritis symptoms, and that help reduce and stop H. pylori infection growth in the stomach include apples, onions, garlic, teas, green leafy vegetables, coconut water, and wheat bran. Gastritis is diagnosed with endoscopy, blood tests, or stool tests. Some people get relief from gastritis symptoms with prescription and non-prescription antacids, histamine blockers like famotidine (Pepcid AC) or ranitidine (Zantac 75), or proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) like omeprazole (Prilosec) and esomeprazole (Nexium). These drugs will not cure gastritis. Complications of gastritis include gastric cancers, MALT lymphoma, renal problems, and death.
Healthy Living and Disease PreventionThe importance of a healthy lifestyle in disease prevention is widely understood and most people know that lifestyle changes and choices can be critical to good health. Learn about healthy behaviors that constitute healthy living.
How Safe is the 3 Day Cardiac Diet?The 3-Day cardiac diet is one of the popular fad diets for weight-loss. The diet claims a weight loss of about 10 pounds or 4.5 kilograms in a week.
The 10 Best Diet Plans For Weight LossDiet means a reduction in calorie intake. For the optimal management of overweight and obese patients, a combination of diet, exercise, and behavioral modifications may be helpful. Weight loss is directly related to the difference between the individual’s energy intake and energy expenditure.
What Are the 7 Things You Need for a Balanced Diet?There are seven essential factors for a balanced diet. They are carbohydrates, protein, fat, fiber, vitamins, minerals and water.
What Is the Number One Diet?As per recent survey and analysis, research has confirmed that Mediterranean diet is the number one diet. As per research, people living in countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea live longer and are at low risk of cancer or cardiovascular ailments than other people.
Why Am I So Gassy and Bloated?Bloating is a feeling that your abdomen is distended or larger than normal, but it does not necessarily mean that it is. Gas (flatulence) also can be a problem if you are bloated. Common, less serious causes of bloating are eating too fast, too much, or too many fatty foods; swallowing air; pregnancy; and menstruation. Cancer and IBD (ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease) are examples of the more serious causes of bloating. Examples of foods and drinks that cause bloating are high-fiber foods if you don't eat them regularly; eventually the bloating and gassiness will resolve if you eat them on a regular basis; fatty greasy foods, dairy products (for example, cheese, ice cream, milk, and yogurt); foods high in salt (for example, processed, frozen, and canned foods), and artificial sweeteners. Some doctors and other health care professionals recommend natural remedies like chamomile or peppermint tea or pumpkin to relieve bloating. Examples of OTC medicine (medicine available without a prescription) and other products that may relieve bloating and gassiness are, Gas-X, Beano, Pepto Bismol, Metamucil, probiotics, and Ex-Lax for constipation associated with bloating. If you have persistent or severe gas and bloating, and if you have any of these symptoms see a doctor or other health care professional, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, chest pain, bloody diarrhea, fever, or if you think you are or may be pregnant.